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Plant Physiol. 1997 Dec;115(4):1641-1650.

The Role of Metal Transport and Tolerance in Nickel Hyperaccumulation by Thlaspi goesingense Halacsy.

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  • 1AgBiotech Center, Rutgers University, Cook College, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08903 (U.K., R.D.S., I.R., D.E.S.).


Metal hyperaccumulators are plants that are capable of extracting metals from the soil and accumulating them to extraordinary concentrations in aboveground tissues (greater than 0.1% dry biomass Ni or Co or greater than 1% dry biomass Zn or Mn). Approximately 400 hyperaccumulator species have been identified, according to the analysis of field-collected specimens. Metal hyperaccumulators are interesting model organisms to study for the development of a phytoremediation technology, the use of plants to remove pollutant metals from soils. However, little is known about the molecular, biochemical, and physiological processes that result in the hyperaccumulator phenotype. We investigated the role of Ni tolerance and transport in Ni hyperaccumulation by Thlaspi goesingense, using plant biomass production, evapotranspiration, and protoplast viability assays, and by following short- and long-term uptake of Ni into roots and shoots. As long as both species (T. goesingense and Thlaspi arvense) were unaffected by Ni toxicity, the rates of Ni translocation from roots to shoots were the same in both the hyper- and nonaccumulator species. Our data suggest that Ni tolerance is sufficient to explain the Ni hyperaccumulator phenotype observed in hydroponically cultured T. goesingense when compared with the Ni-sensitive nonhyperaccumulator T. arvense.

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